Ever since I heard about people going on a mystery vacation, I’ve been fascinated with the idea. Imagine going away for a long weekend and not knowing where you were headed until you left for the trip? Pack Up & Go has been planning these types of trips for adventurous travelers for years. While I’m a control freak, the idea of someone planning a trip for me was strangely appealing. Before COVID-19, you could choose between a trip with a flight to your destination or taking a road trip.
It’s no surprise that the travel slowdown has put a damper on the desire to travel to an unknown destination. Who knows what city will become the next hotspot and what if your state has quarantine rules in place?
Pack Up & Go started to adapt during the summer and began offering staycation packages. You could spend the weekend in your hometown and it included hotel accommodations and curated activities for your weekend away at home.
While they’re still offering the staycations, they also are back to offering their usual trips involving plane/train travel or road trips. They’ve also noticed that many travelers, us included, are most comfortable staying away from other guests and prefer visiting a “socially distancing compliant” location.
To meet this need, they are now offering a new type of “mystery trip” called Pack Up & Go Outdoors.
Let’s start off with this: For your Pack Up + Go Outdoors trip, we won’t be sending you to the middle of nowhere with only a sleeping bag! You will still enjoy the classic Pack Up + Go getaway experience, just surrounded more by nature. On your pre-trip survey, you will indicate what type of accommodations suit you best including: Glamping-style tents/yurts, cabins, bed & breakfasts, or unique inns.
Accommodations for these trips are more for those wanting to get away from it all. You can choose from glamping in a tent/yurt, having your own cabin or staying at a small B&B or Inn. You will also get the usual Pack Up & Go experience:
- Surprise destination!
- Accommodation reservation
- Itinerary with outdoor-centric and rainy day activity recommendations
- Road trip directions from your starting location to your destination with pit stop ideas
- Optional: activity add-on
- Optional: rental car reservation
I imagine many people who are focused mainly on earning hotel points and airline miles might not be well-versed in where’s the best place to rent a vintage Airstream trailer for a long weekend getaway.
To try and create a trip that’s best for you, Pack Up & Go has several questions for you to answer, starting with if you’re looking for an adventurous weekend or one spending time around the fire.
They then ask about your hobbies and interests.
Swimming ability is also an important thing to know when planning an outdoor trip.
Along with if you’re OK with a CDC-compliant activity with other people or if you prefer not to be around others.
Finally, you get to pick your preferred style(s) of accommodation. If you’re OK with a tent or if you want to stay in a cabin or B&B.
You’re also able to add any additional information you want. The more you let them know, the better of a trip they will be able to design for you.
One of the big differences between a usual trip with Pack Up & Go and one of their outdoor trips is the booking process. Usually, you set a budget for your trip ahead of time and they find something in that price range. For an outdoor trip, with your survey you need to pay a $50 non-refundable deposit. Within 48-72 hours they’ll send you a trip proposal with a PayPal link for payment, minus the $50 you’ve already paid. Here’s what to expect from the proposal.
The proposal will outline the basic details of your vacation, without spoiling the surprise, so we can ensure we are on the right track for your outdoor adventure! The Trip Proposal will include specific costs for your trip and an insurance quote if that is something you would like (we highly recommend it). After confirming the details on your Trip Proposal (don’t worry, your trip destination and specific details will still be a surprise!) we will send you a PayPal request minus your $50 deposit.
I understand the need to charge a deposit because these trips are much harder to coordinate than a usual urban getaway. They can’t spend hours arranging a trip to have someone say “Nah, that’s not what I had in mind.”
I’m really impressed with how Pack Up & Go navigated travelers’ changing desires as we try to live our lives during a pandemic. By increasing the options for the style of trips available, they can offer their skills with planning individual vacations to people, no matter what their travel preferences may be.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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